Volunteer Newsletter- Fall 2021 (English) - Little Tokyo Service Center

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Volunteer Newsletter

Fall 2021 Issue

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title text: volunteer newsletter fall 2021Welcome to the Fall issue of our quarterly volunteer newsletter!

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our clients and residents and positively impacting the community. Volunteers are the heart of our organization and our work wouldn’t be possible without your support. Keep reading to see how LTSC volunteers created positive change!

text: volunteer spotlight

Mieko Beyer, Little Tokyo Small Business Volunteer

Mieko Beyer has been a longtime volunteer working with the Small Business Program. She utilizes her strength of writing to promote Nikkei entrepreneurs and Little Tokyo businesses in the Nikkei Entrepreneur Spotlight, a project by LTSC in partnership with the Rafu Shimpo. Thank you for all of your work, Mieko!

Mieko BeyerWhat do you enjoy most about volunteering with LTSC? 

I enjoy learning about the different entrepreneurs and their stories. Everyone is so multi-faceted and interesting. It’s also such an interesting view into diverse Nikkei heritage storylines and other heritages/identities as well.

Are there any moments from your volunteer experience that stand out? 

Aside from writing the Nikkei Entrepreneur Spotlight, I also volunteered delivering meals with LT Eats and that was really fun going into Sake Dojo off-hours to fetch all the meals. I was really impressed with how speedy and efficient everyone was with collecting the meals we dropped off!

What is something you’ve learned or developed in the last year? 

I learned how to do WordPress website creation and maintenance from an online course. It’s super fun to customize a WordPress site and it was great to learn how to code up the different parts of the theme. I applied what I learned in the course right away to making a site for my sister called www.littletokyoisopen.com which will feature small business stories from around Little Tokyo!

program updates

General LTSC Volunteers

speech bubbles with translationsAs we say farewell to summer programming for the year, we’d like to send a special thank you to everyone who helped make these programs happen!

LTSC recently put out a call for translation volunteers to help us create materials in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. We’re happy to announce we now have four volunteer translators for each language- some of whom are international volunteers from Peru, Spain, Malaysia, Korea, and China! Thank you for helping us get information to our community in their primary language!

From July-September 2021, LTSC’s volunteers dedicated 1,143.73 hours of their time! Thank you for everything you do!

Terasaki Budokan

Terasaki Budokan is a multipurpose sports and activities center in downtown LA providing youth, families, and seniors with sports leagues, community activities, and opportunities to connect visitors with the Japanese American culture and a vibrant, sustainable Little Tokyo.

sakura kokumai olympic watch partyTwo of Budokan’s summer interns were Keiran and Clara Mulligan, who came to us through the Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu Karate Group. Kieran and Clara were instrumental in helping organize the Sakura Kokumai Olympic watch party, as well as basketball and karate summer camp registrations and lunch time activities. Thank you Keiran and Clara!

Upcoming:  Get ready for Budokan’s annual Golf Tournament on November 15th at Friendly Hills Golf Course in Whittier CA. For more information, visit: www.terasakibudokan.org/golftournament


Mi CASA is LTSC’s free after-school program for youth ages 6 to 18 years old supporting the physical, emotional and social health of youth in Little Tokyo and neighboring communities.

Mi Casa summer camps kids receive tutoringOur summer volunteers supported us throughout the 5 week Mi CASA Summer Program which took place from July 5th- August 5th. This year’s program was a hybrid model: we had virtual workshops on Mondays and Wednesdays, and in-person programming on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Terasaki Budokan. Our volunteers provided academic support and tutoring in subjects like English and Math, engaged with our youth through sports and arts and crafts activities, supported our workshops, and provided mentorship to the youth.

In total, we had 7 volunteers during the summer program who served 300+ hours! Thank you to our volunteers!

Resident Services

resident services volunteersThanks to APIFM’s generous donation, LTSC will continue to deliver 30 fresh produce bags (which include a dozen eggs)  biweekly until the end of the year to residents in LTSC’s affordable housing buildings. 5 incredible volunteers delivered 210 fresh produce bags and 45 bags with non-perishable and hygiene items to our residents. 

Upcoming: Delivery of food bags will continue until the end of the year!

JCI Gardens  

Located in the South Bay, JCI Gardens is an affordable housing community for seniors.   

JCI Gardens is currently hosting an English class twice a month. Our amazing volunteer, Angie, consistently comes in for one-on-one sessions with interested residents. Thank you, Angie for being an awesome teacher for our clients!

South Bay

Bridge USAOur South Bay volunteers continued to help visitors in-person at the South Bay office, manning the phones and assisting walk-ins. Thank you for helping our office run smoothly!

In addition, South Bay volunteers Sumiko and Kacey helped out with LTSC’s booth at Bridge USA Japanese Natsumatsuri Summer Festival. Thank you for helping respond to inquiries and spreading the word about LTSC!

Changing Tides

changing tides logoChanging Tides began in 2017 with a focus to end the stigma surrounding mental health in the Asian American community through outreach, education, and open conversations. 

Matthew Yonemura, CT Crew Member, stepped in to fill the CT Coordinator position on a part-time temporary basis. Go Matthew! Matthew is helping to plan and execute Changing Tides’ fundraising event this November as well as the launch of a new program, CT Stream. Stay tuned for more information!

Far East Lounge

Far East Lounge (FEL) is a multipurpose gathering space for seniors and others to connect and enjoy activities that promote wellness.

senior ping pong at budokanDue to a high demand for a Computer Assistance class and an English class, 2 new volunteer instructors joined FEL to accommodate these classes in July and August. Because most of our participants are monolingual and unfamiliar with technology, we hope these classes build social confidence and promote a community of inclusivity and openness. Thank you very much for supporting our seniors!

Currently, FEL offers 10 in-person activities at Budokan by 9 volunteer instructors. Since June, around 100 seniors have participated in FEL activities!

Alzheimer’s Disease Programs Initiative (ALDPI)

LTSC received a three year grant to enhance dementia care capability in the Los Angeles API community. We have partnered with Alzheimer’s LA to adapt educational and caregiver training programs into Japanese, Korean and Mandarin and will be launching a Korean-speaking dementia caregiver support group. 

ALDPIAlzheimer’s Disease Programs Initiative (ADPI) has been utilizing volunteers to help adapt English language presentations for various AAPI communities, including finding culturally appropriate photos and translating materials into Korean and Japanese! In total, they have helped to adapt 8 different powerpoint presentations.

Upcoming: As we continue to build LTSC’s very own dementia caregiver training program, we anticipate needing additional help with Japanese and Korean translations!

Nikkei Tomodachi Program (NTP)

nikkei tomodachi programNikkei Tomodachi Program (NTP) is a friendly visitor/caller service for LTSC clients who are socially isolated and/or need extra emotional support through weekly/bi-weekly conversations in Japanese.    

In the last three months, NTP’s 10 experienced, dedicated, and compassionate volunteers put in 240 hours of service, reaching 15 clients. 4 of the volunteers have resumed in-person services. All of NTP’s clients are so delighted!

Nikkei Helpline

The Nikkei Helpline is the first crisis hotline for the Japanese speaking community. Since it was created in 1984, over 150,000 people have called the Nikkei Helpline for assistance with everything from immigration, education, and traffic accidents to illness, drug abuse, relationship crises and other emergencies. Currently, phone services are provided weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. NHL is a completely volunteer-run program!

Ryugakusei Helpline

The Ryugakusei Hotline (RHL) provides information and referral services to Japanese students living in the U.S. Trained volunteers help these students, who may be experiencing isolation, with an array of issues including: mental health, relationships, landlord-tenant matters, alcohol and drugs, auto accidents and immigration. RHL is open from 10am-3:30 pm M/T/Th/F, and from 1:30-5pm on Wednesday. Since the re-opening of the office, RHL has received an influx of calls, many of whom were referred by the Consulate General of Japan. RHL is a completely volunteer-run program!

Volunteer Opportunities

Interested in upcoming volunteer opportunities? Check out our profile on Volunteer Match! Opportunities range from one-time event help to providing ongoing support for various programs.

Can’t volunteer, but would still like to support? Your donation creates positive change!

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